The battered field at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium has to endure another night of abuse Friday when Sierra plays host to fifth-seeded Atwater in the the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinals.
“It’s not pretty, but it’s ours,” Sierra coach Chris Johnson said. “It sure is nice to be home for another game.”
His No. 4 Timberwolves (8-3) are coming off their best all-around effort, a 61-15 beatdown of injury-weakened Golden Valley in the first round. Their next game, should they get past Atwater (8-3), will likely be at top-seeded Rio Linda.
They’re expecting a challenge from the Falcons, who also have injury concerns. Last week, they managed without starting quarterback Julius Peacock (hamstring) in a 50-26 rout of Kimball. Back-up Anthony Diaz more than held his own, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another.
Peacock has anchored the hybrid spread/wing-T offense, throwing for 1,431 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 773 and four scores in the regular season. Atwater also has an electric running back in Charles Jackson (1,098 yards, 8.9 per carry, 18 TDs).
“Very talented at the skill positions with lots of speed,” Johnson said. “I like our guys up front and the physicality of the schedule we’ve played. It’s our brutes against their flash.”
Atwater placed second in the competitive Central California Conference and nearly upset undefeated intracity rival Buhach Colony in a 14-13 Week 10 loss. The Falcons averaged 39.5 points in their other 10 games this season, and Buhach is the third-seeded team in Division III.
Sierra and the Falcons share four common opponents — Pacheco, Central Valley, Golden Valley, Kimball — and both have beaten all of them. Atwater escaped Golden Valley with a 41-35 overtime win, but Johnson warns against comparing results.
“Golden Valley went to overtime with them but they were at full strength at that point,” Johnson said. “I think we’re pretty evenly matched. It should be a good, hard-fought football game.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Atwater (8-3) vs. Sierra (8-3)
WHAT: Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinal
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m. kickoff
WHERE: Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium, Sierra High
ADMISSION: $12 adults, $8 seniors (65-above)/military, $5 students (K-12), children 5-under free